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VocalEssence WITNESS: Of Such I Dream

VocalEssence WITNESS will present five performances of the premiere of William Banfield's chamber symphony, "I Trust Harlem Is Still There."

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VocalEssence WITNESS Of Such I Dream featured on Fox 9 Morning Buzz

Posted on June 4, 2018 by VocalEssence
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Local station Fox 9 interviews G. Phillip Shoultz, III and members of our new VocalEssence Youth Choir – Singers Of This Age!

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VocalEssence WITNESS Of Such I Dream featured on Artfully Engaging

Posted on June 4, 2018 by VocalEssence
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Local arts social media professional Kendra Plant interviews VocalEssence Associate Conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III in advance of the VocalEssence WITNESS concerts.

VocalEssence WITNESS 2018 Debuts New Youth Choir

Posted on June 4, 2018 by VocalEssence
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The VocalEssence WITNESS Concert featured this premiere performance of our new youth choir, VocalEssence Singers Of This Age, performing Mark Miller’s “Love Has Broken Down the Wall.” Get your tissues ready! What to learn more about them?

Check out our website: https://www.vocalessence.org/…/for-schoo…/vocalessence-sota/ 


VocalEssence commissioned composer William (Bill) C. Banfield to write a major work called “I Trust Harlem Is Still There.” The work will feature chorus, spoken word, dancers, and a 9-piece chamber orchestra including violin, cello, bass, percussion, piano, winds, trombone and trumpet. The performance will be paired with related video clips.

As we approach the centennial celebration of the Harlem Renaissance, VocalEssence WITNESS will highlight the literary and artistic figures associated with the movement who inspired social change through their works. “I Trust Harlem Is Still There” will set music to letters written by Langston Hughes to his friend Carl Van Vechten. The letters contain a unique record of the entertainment, politics, and culture of the Harlem Renaissance.

VocalEssence WITNESS, now in its 28th year, is one of the nation’s premier initiatives celebrating the contributions of African Americans to our shared American heritage. By commissioning new works and programming rarely heard works by African American composers, VocalEssence WITNESS helps to broaden ideas about African American musical expression and introduce important new voices to audiences. Past VocalEssence WITNESS commissions have included works by notable composers including: Brent Michael Abels, David Baker, Ysaye Barnwell, Joseph Jennings, Bobby McFerrin, Rosephanye Powell, Patrice Rushen, and Alvin Singleton.

The commission will be premiered at the annual VocalEssence WITNESS Concerts in February 2018. The work will be performed in full at a public concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis for more than 2,000 attendees. Excerpts will be performed at four daytime performances for more than 5,000 students. The concerts will be recorded for archival purposes and possible future release.

In conjunction with the commission, composer Bill Banfield will visit Minnesota to engage the greater Twin Cities community in activities including workshops, speaking engagements, and other opportunities which will offer the community the opportunity to meet and work directly with the composer.

Composer Bill Banfield

William (Bill) C. Banfield serves as Professor of Africana Studies/Music and Society and Director of Africana Studies programs at Berklee College of Music. He received his Bachelor of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, a Master of Theological Studies from Boston University and a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition from the University of Michigan.

Banfield’s works have been commissioned, performed and recorded by orchestras nationwide including the National, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, Richmond, Akron, Toledo, San Diego, and Sacramento symphonies. His music has been performed and/or recorded by: Bobby McFerrin, Patrice Rushen, Don Byron, Leon Bates, Najee, Ron Carter, Delfeayo Marsalis, Oliver Lake, Regina Carter, Rachel Z, Jon Faddis, Marcus Belgrave, Billy Childs, Nnenna Freelon, Alphonso Johnson, Leon Ndugu Chancler, and Nelson Rangell. He studied under numerous composing giants including T.J. Anderson, George Russell, Theodore Antoniou, William Bolcolm, and William Albright.

His awards include recognition and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Jerome Foundation, The Lila Wallace Foundation Awards, and McKnight Foundation.

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VocalEssence (then known as Plymouth Music Series) performs Symphony No. 7: Reveries, A Summer’s Circle – I. Tender Years, composed by William (Bill) C. Banfield. The work was commissioned and premiered by the Plymouth Music Series Ensemble Singers, Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by Philip Brunelle in Minneapolis on February 7, 1997. This works represents a previous past successful collaboration among VocalEssence and the composer.

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Features: VocalEssence

VocalEssence performs the regional premiere of “Dreams of the Fallen,” a major work for chorus and symphony by composer Jake Runestad in October 2015. Performers include the VocalEssence Chorus & Ensemble Singers, the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, pianist Jeffrey Biegel, and conducted by Philip Brunelle. This work sample represents the artistic quality of VocalEssence with orchestra.

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Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Last update on June 4, 2018

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Minneapolis, Minnesota
THE MISSION OF VOCALESSENCE VocalEssence champions choral music of all genres, celebrating the vocal experience through innovative performances, commissioning of new works, and engaging with diverse constituencies. OVERVIEW Founded by Philip Brunelle in 1969, the groundbreaking organization that grew into what is now known as VocalEssence inspires new voices in singing groups in the United…


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